Father's Day Whisky

Father's Day Whisky
Father’s day is fast approaching, and with that in mind we’ve opened up the doors of our increasingly well apportioned whisky library to present three perfect gifts for the occasion. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters – frankly, whoever ends up being the lucky recipient, they’ll find any one of the three whiskies below a fabulous addition to their whisky cabinet.

Caol Ila Unpeated 15 year old was first released at the end of last year. A cask strength bottling released at 59.1%, from the much sought after annual Special Releases series, it is a fascinating dram that offers up an unpeated expression of this famously peated Islay distillery. Once a year a single batch of unpeated malt would be sent to barrels, most of it used and prized by blenders for its combination of highland style and island distillery soul. Those kept separate make up the unpeated releases, which in 2018 means combination of refill and rejuvenated American hogsheads and ex-bodga European oak butts. With a waxy, heathery intensity on the nose, there’s an undeniable whisp of burnt cedar and fresh cigar ash despite the unpeated nature of the original malt. With time this that runs to orange peel, nutty cereals and then dried peat and an almost sappy, minty character with a dash of water. The palate is broad, long, driving and full of spice, salt, liquorice, anise and even black pepper, before cinnamon and steeped raisins appear on the finish, shrouded another whisp of nocturnal smoke neatly mimicking the one found at the start. It’s a superb dram that will satisfy the most cerebral of minds…appealing to lovers of Caol Ila and a more unpeated style alike.

Lagavulin 12 year old also appeared at the tail end of 2018 as part of the Special Releases series. A cask strength release at 57.8%, from refill American oak hogsheads, it owes little of its flavour to active cask flavours; instead this is all Lagavulin, its pure distillery character delivered loud and clear. Waxy smoky peaty notes open up to allow in pine, sandy campfires, marine paint, and sea spray. On the palate it’s surprisingly refined and well-mannered despite being powerful, focussed and intensely salt and smoke dominated. Lovers of the distillery will find all they elements they know and love, delivered in a bold decisive manner. The beauty of youth and the bright lens that it shines on a distillery with as much character as Lagavulin is what draws you in – then a dash of water opens up notes of struck match, gunflint, spent shotgun cartridge and a herbal, almost medicinal bitterness. This is not for the faint of heart; an intense, heavily peated, virile expression of Lagavulin that revels in it’s power, stature and complexity.

Our third and final pick comes from the silent distillery Convalmore, known well to few but highly regarded by those in the know. This 32 year old was first released in 2017 and we are delighted to be able to offer just a handful of these seldom seen bottles, of which just 3972 were originally released. This is the whisky for the collector who has everything and yet still delights in discovering a little known gem. From Dufftown in Speyside the Convalmore style is maritime yet sweet and rich, with layer upon layer of generous inviting flavours that reveal impressive levels of complexity if given a little time and attention. Another cask strength bottling, at 48.2%, this has enormous immediate appeal and charisma with rich buttered pasty, dried fruit and sweet spice notes, that unfurl languidly to reveal a fully appointed cake tray laden with candied lemon, green apple, then wax, crème brulee and spiced poached pears and sweet oaty biscuits. With a dash of water, a floral element appears, giving lift and highlighting some of the sweet oak notes that persist on the finish. Utterly charming, complex and warming... and brilliant, if luxurious aperitif.